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What are nipple shields and should I be using them?

Nipple shields are silicone covers designed to make the nipple more prominent. They are used mainly if the baby will not take the breast, the baby is born prematurely or the mother has sore nipples.
 
There is some debate over the use of nipple shields and there are a number of problems associated with using them. Nipple shields can cause the baby to get less milk if the shield is used incorrectly, mums can be more at risk of mastitis, and it can be difficult to wean from a shield.
 
Nipple shields should only be used as a last resort and if you are considering using them it is essential you ensure your baby is getting enough milk by monitoring weight gain and wet and dirty nappy production.

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